Bulls vs. Bucks series: how to get outplayed in every meaning of the word
Highlights from Game 3 of the Bulls vs. Bucks series: how to get outplayed in every meaning of the word.
Chicago got out to a sluggish start and soon found themselves down by double digits. The wheels came off rapidly, and it was clear that this was going to be another disaster. The final score was a 30 point thrashing, sending the series to Game Four on Sunday.
But first, let’s take a look at some lessons learned from a tumultuous night at the United Center. The Entire Offense Is Thrown Out of Synchronization In Game Three, the Bulls scored only 81 points and failed to score more than twenty points in three of the four quarters. The Milwaukee defence deserves credit for having a precise gameplan for DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. Jrue Holiday and Wes Matthews entered their air zone, which was devoid of the area established by Chicago for jump shots. The Bucks crowded the paint so that they could easily assist in the mid-range, making it impossible for Chicago’s two greatest players to hit a clean shot from that distance.
DeRozan scored 11 points on four of nine shooting. It was a shabby show of not just shooting but also observing the absence of firing.
DeRozan’s flow was utterly disrupted as the Bucks defence forced him to move left all night, and each time he did, he was met by at least one help defender.
LaVine didn’t fare much better, scoring 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting. It’s clear that his knee is still troubling him, and it’s harming his performance in this series. He’s had a rough time of it in these three games, and if the Bulls are to have a chance in Game Four, he’ll have to step up, especially if DeRozan’s shots aren’t falling.
This game demonstrated the improvements made by the Bucks in attempt to slow down the Bulls’ attack. Now it’s up to Chicago to see if they can come up with any responses in terms of what schemes/sets they can devise to get the ball to their top players while avoiding being harried by Bucks guards.
The Bulls’ bench unit had yet another poor performance, which didn’t help matters. While the box score shows that they scored 26, 21 of those points came in the fourth quarter, when the game was already over. The Bulls only had two players score over 15 points, LaVine and Vucevic, while the Bucks had many role players with significant offensive efforts.
Shots from three-point range were not falling.
The three-point line was a part of the Bulls’ difficulties in this game. After making 12 of 25 from downtown in Game Two, Chicago made nine of 34 in Game Three. While it’s fun to see the Bulls shoot threes anytime they get the opportunity, they must really make these shots. Alex Caruso was the most effective Bull from distance on the night, connecting on three of his five efforts. Vucevic made his first three tries but missed his next six from that distance. Coby White, one of Chicago’s better three-point shooters, only made one of his six attempts.
Milwaukee’s defensive strategy of packing the paint and forcing kick-outs to the perimeter allowed this to happen once again. They forced a team that doesn’t make many of these shots to make them, which Chicago did not do. If the Bulls want to compete offensively with Milwaukee, they must make the three-point shot. At the very least, this will help Chicago to slow down runs and have a more productive offensive night. If the Bucks get into a rhythm offensively, things could get nasty quickly.
Milwaukee’s Shooters Will Not Be Defeated
With Khris Middleton sidelined for Game Three, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer inserted former Bull Bobby Portis into the starting lineup to construct a ‘jumbo’ shape.
Grayson Allen, to make matters worse, was also lethal from downtown. Part of the reason for this is the Bulls’ gameplan of double-teaming Giannis and, at times, Holiday in the first quarter. This pushes Chicago to spin almost precisely, and any pause leaves Milwaukee with an open three. The Bulls showed in the previous two games that they can run shooters off the three-point line if their rotations are tight, but they weren’t in Game Three, and Chicago paid a high price for it.
The only Bucks to make more than two shots from downtown were Portis and Allen, but it was more than enough. One of the most concerning aspects is that Milwaukee’s other shooters, Wes Matthews, Brook Lopez, and Jrue Holiday, combined to go 3 of 10 from the field. In Game Four, they might shoot considerably better, and Chicago must do everything possible to limit three-point attempts, or it will be another long day at the United Center.